Application of Information Technology has become a very crucial factor for running any business successfully. A lot of money is spent towards creation of information technology infrastructure for each business. Therefore, it becomes very important to manage this information technology infrastructure most efficiently so that the business could get the maximum benefit out of such an infrastructure.
There are two important aspects in the management of information technology infrastructure. One aspect is to provide local responsiveness of the IT infrastructure within the individual business unit, and the other aspect is to provide enterprise wide integration of IT infrastructure so that business applications could be run which could exploit inter unit synergies.
Therefore, a successful business would like to develop an IT infrastructure that would be helpful in providing both localized exploitation as well as enterprise wide integration. In this context, IT standards play a very important role to provide significant responsiveness of the IT infrastructure towards IT needs of the organization. Therefore, the role of IT standards has to be studied in more detail in this context.
After carrying out various academic studies between 1990 and 1998, IT standards has been defined as policies or regulations that define how an organization’s IT infrastructure assets are to be acquired, managed, and utilized. More and more IT and business executives consider IT standards provide the foundation on which an organization can sustain its IT based innovation in its business strategy as well as in its value chain activities.
At the corporate level, IT resources are generally managed as a resource of the entire enterprise. But, managers handling different business units that are located in different geographical locations make many decisions regarding the utilization of IT infrastructure independently. Under these conditions, IT standards play an important role towards giving protection to the integrity of IT infrastructure of the enterprise while providing enough responsiveness to the localized business needs of different business units.
An important role is played by IT standards in this regard by providing information regarding the capabilities of IT infrastructure and provides proper guidelines towards their effective use.
A study has identified three important properties any good corporate IT infrastructure standards. They are: comprehensiveness, flexibility, and the level of enforcement. Comprehensiveness in this context means the extent or the degree of formalization of the written rules and procedures regarding IT standards have been laid down within the organization.
Flexibility would provide some latitude in deviating from laid down rules or procedures described in the IT standards. Enforcement would refer to the extent to which action is taken at corporate level to restrain individual managers from not complying with the standards.
Therefore, any successful IT standard for any organization should be a proper mix that provides enterprise wise integration along with local flexibility.